I've been reading an electronic copy of Braden Kelley's new book: Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire. I have met Braden several times in NYC while covering the World Innovation Forum and World Business Forum. When he sent me a copy of his book I was more than happy to review it (especially since he was kind enough to review mine last year!).
My primary thought after reading the book is that it is an excellent reference to keep handy, especially if you are involved in the planning and implementation of innovation activities (like I am). For example, Braden provides ample use cases from a large number of companies:
- Kuwait Petroleum
- Proctor & Gamble
The value that I found in these use cases is the ability to compare and contrast each company's "do's and don'ts" with that of my own organization (EMC).
Perhaps the greatest value that I found, however, was contained in the first three chapters. Part I of his book discusses the value of (a) an innovation vision statement, (b) an innovation strategy, and (c) having a set of innovation goals. When I was done with those three chapters I thought to myself: "if the book ended right now it would be worth it".
I think it is rare (in my experience) for an individual business unit to have an innovation vision statement, never mind a strategy to carry it out, and a set of goals to measure success. My group has well-defined product vision statements, strategies, and goals. But we don't have:
- a statement that defines our plan for the generation and delivery of valuable new ideas
- our strategy for implementing that vision
- a set of metrics that allow us to measure success
Braden provides plenty of evidence in his book that clearly demonstrates the value that can be gained via the innovation vision (as well as examples of failure when the vision wasn't clear).
The rest of the book was filled with more advice, as well as useful graphs and tools that help to gauge the innovative output of an organization. Some of them I have already started to circulate within my company.
Braden can be followed on Twitter with the handle @innovate. The fact that he was able to acquire that particular twitter handle speaks volumes about his dedication to the topic!
More information on Braden's book can be found here.